Artificial shark skin boosts swimming speed

Scientists have made the first simulated shark skin which has been found to boost swimming speed by up to 6.6%.

Sharks skin contains millions of denticles – microscopic, overlapping, tooth-like scales. These denticles disrupt the flow of water against the shark’s body, reducing the natural drag that would otherwise hold the animal back.

George Launer and his colleagues at Harvard University sampled the skin of a mako shark and scanned a computerised model of its composition. This was then used to create a hydrodynamic shark skin, comprised of flexible, synthetic material to mimic that of a true shark.

It was found that the shark skin has the ability to boost swimming speeds by up to 6.6% and reduce energy expenditure by 5.9%.

Originally published at The Conversation.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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